Rugby Union

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Waratahs add gun rookies to squad

THE Waratahs have confirmed the signings of Shute Shield rookie of the year Jed Holloway and former Reds five-eighth Sam Lane in their line-up for next season.

Holloway and Lane join former Rebels hooker Luke Holmes and sevens gun Matt Lucas as the four players contracted to NSW as part of the extended playing squad.

New coach Michael Cheika has only two spots to fill after caretaker coach Alan Gaffney and assistants Scott Bowen and Greg Mumm presided over the selections of the EPS players and the three new regular squad members, second-rower Ollie Atkins, fullback Cam Crawford and winger Michael Hodge.

Lucas, the brother of Reds utility Ben Lucas, is on the Gold Coast this week with the Australian sevens squad for the opening leg of the sevens world series.

The 20-year-old former Australian under-20s representative joins Brendan McKibbin and former EPS signing Grayson Hart as one of three halfbacks in the squad.

Cheika will be keen to settle on a first-choice option after the position caused the Waratahs trouble this season. ''As the youngest of our three halfbacks within the squad, Matt gives us balance in the position and succession planning for the future, as we look to constantly bring new talent through the ranks,'' he said.


Holloway has enjoyed a rapid rise to professional rugby after a stellar season in the Shute Shield with grand finalists Southern Districts. At only 19, the Wollongong-raised second-rower, who can also play at blindside breakaway, has impressed Cheika since his arrival this week.

''Jed is a very impressive young player,'' he said. ''As a lock or back-rower, to be so highly rated at such a young age is a good sign as, typically, these positions are late bloomers. He's a country player, full of enthusiasm … he brings a rawness and freshness to the team that we hope will help rough up the competition in the forward pack.''

The Waratahs will be developing a new lineout caller after the departure of long-time squad member and former Wallaby Dean Mumm.

Lane and Holmes were lured to NSW from other provinces, although both grew up in Sydney.

Holmes, a foundation member of the Force and the Rebels, is the third hooker on the Waratahs' books and, at age 28, gives Cheika an option between Wallabies starter Tatafu Polota-Nau and his understudy Damien Fitzpatrick.

Lane was drafted into the Reds on a short-term contract around Easter as Queensland lost five-eighth after five-eighth on their nightmare tour of South Africa.

The son of former Wallabies centre Tim Lane was offered a new contract with the Reds but chose to return to Sydney.


1 Adam Ashley-Cooper
2 Berrick Barnes
3 Peter Betham
4 Tom Carter
5 Cam Crawford
6 Dave Dennis
7 Kane Douglas
8 Damien Fitzpatrick
9 Bernard Foley
10 Grayson Hart
11 Michael Hodge
12 Michael Hooper
13 Rob Horne
14 Sekope Kepu
15 Tom Kingston
16 Pat McCutcheon
17 Brendan McKibbin
18 Drew Mitchell
19 Wycliff Palu
20 Greg Peterson
21 Tatafu Polota-Nau
22 Benn Robinson
23 Paddy Ryan
24 Jeremy Tilse
25 Lopeti Timani
26 Sitaleki Timani
27 Lachie Turner
28 John Ulugia
29 Ollie Atkins
30 TBC
EPS Jed Holloway, Luke Holmes, Sam Lane, Matt Lucas